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Wife relation & responsibility with father in law

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.  (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)

One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

Please let me know what islam says in light of quran & sahih ahadiths 1)the barrier for women & Inlaws i.e father inlaw & husbands brother.(2) duties & responsibilities for a women after marriage towards her fatherin law.As in india it become hindu culture husbands ask wifes to take care their parents whether mother or father alone when they are away for some days or months.

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Answer:

Wife relation & responsibility with father in law

The Arabic term mehram is derived from Haraam which literally means something which is sacred, or sacrosanct, or prohibited.  In the terminology of Islamic Jurisprudence a mehram relative is generally one to whom marriage is absolutely and permanently prohibited; and a non-mehram is generally one to whom marriage is permissible.

Here is list of almost all the mehrams including father in law.  

List of Mehram of the woman:

  • Husband
  • Father (includes grand father, great grand father, great grand father, etc.)
  • Sons  (includes sons and daughters sons,  grand sons, and so on)
  • Brother  ( includes brothers  sons,  their sons, and so on)
  • Sisters sons (includes sisters sons sons,  their sons, and so on)
  • Paternal and Maternal uncles
  • Son in law
  • Father in law
  • step father (from the day the step father conjugates with ones real mother)
  • step sons (from the day the wife conjugates with the real father of the step sons)
  • All the men who (in their infancy) have shared the suckle of the woman she suckled with in her infancy.

But husbands brother (younger or older) or brother-in-laws are not considered mehram in Shariah, and every restriction that applies to a non-mehram would be applicable to ones brother-in-law.

Islam does not prohibit a believing woman from speaking to a non-mehram if she has a genuine need or business; but what Islam does strictly prohibit is that a believing woman indulges in casual and vain talk with a non-mehram member of the opposite sex.

Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 7.159         Narrated by Uqba bin Amir

Allah's Messenger (saws) said, "Beware of entering upon the (non-mehram) ladies." A man from the Ansar said, "O Allah's Messenger (saws)! What about Al-Hamu (the non-mehram male in-laws of the wife like the brothers of her husband, or his nephews etc.)?" The Prophet (saws) replied: The Hamu of the wife are death itself!!

The relation of Al-Hamu (non-mehram male in-laws of the wife) are such that in-spite of being non-mehram, they are such regular visitors to the house and are treated as such close relatives, that at times it is possible that the sanctity of the hijab with them is compromised.

Because of their proximity of relations, it is possible that the wife lets her guard down towards her Hamu relatives, and one amongst them who possesses an evil heart is drawn towards her or his behavior gives rise to suspicion or accusation of developing an illicit relationship with the wife.   The effect of such situations, suspicions, or accusations are so devastating that not only would it jeopardize the sacred relationship between a husband and a wife, but Allah forbid, it might even result in a brother becoming an enemy of his own brother!

That is precisely why the Messenger of Allah (saws) guided the believing woman to be extra careful in her dealings with her Hamu relatives calling this relation death and destruction itself; never ever let her guard down with them, treat and behave with them exactly as she would with a non-mehram, never ever sit with them alone, or engage privately in vain or casual talk with them.but at all times, honor and scrupulously preserve the sanctity of the hijab with them.

Your statement: duties & responsibilities for women after marriage towards her father in law. 

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 4 Surah Nisaa verse 34:

34      Men are the protectors and maintainers of women because Allah has given the one more than the other, and because they support them from their means.  Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient and guard in (the husband's) absence what Allah would have them guard (their modesty and chastity, the honor and property of their husband, etc.)

 Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 286         Narrated by Umm Salamah

The Prophet (saws) said: If a woman dies while her husband was pleased with her, she will enter Paradise.

Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 3272        Narrated by Abu Hurayrah

When Allah's Messenger (saws) was asked which woman was best he replied, "The one who pleases (her husband) when he looks at her, obeys him when he gives a command, and does not go against his wishes regarding her person or property by doing anything of which he disapproves."

In light of the guidance of the Quran and the Sunnah, the wife has absolutely no duty or responsibility laid upon her by Islam towards her husbands family or in-laws, including the husbands parents, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, etc.  The responsibility and duty that Islam has laid upon the believing wife is only towards making sure that her husband is pleased and satisfied with her in every aspect of her life! 

Thus, in essence, if a believing woman worships Allah Subhanah as He Alone deserves to be worshipped, preserves her chastity, and strives to the best of her ability to please her husband, the Messenger of Allah (saws) declared that she will be given the honor to enter the Eternal Gardens of Paradise by the gates of her choice! 

Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 3254        Narrated by Anas ibn Malik Allah's Messenger (saws) said, "When a woman observes the five times of prayer, fasts during Ramadan, preserves her chastity and obeys her husband, she may enter by any of the gates of Paradise she wishes."

Having said that she has absolutely no responsibility towards her husbands family, does not in any way mean or imply that she is allowed to be rude, or disrespectful, or dishonor them in any way. She must at all times strive to develop cordial relations with her in-laws. 

But if the believing woman does, of her own free will, serves the parents or family of her husband, she would be doing a deed of ehsaan, a deed which would be over and above her prescribed duties and responsibilities; and Allah Subhanah has time and again declared in the Glorious Quran that He absolutely loves those believers who do ehsaan or deeds which are over and above their role of duty and responsibility.

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 3 Surah Ale-Imraan verse 134 (part):

134    . For Allah loves the muhsineen (those who do deeds over and above their call of duty).

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verse 195 (part):

195     and do ehsaan; for Allah loves the muhsineen (those who do deeds over and above their call of duty).

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 5 Surah Maidah verse 93 (part):

93      ..  For Allah loves the muhsineen (those who do deeds over and above their call of duty).

The wife in Islam is absolutely under no obligation to take care or serve her husbands parents or family; the duty and ultimate responsibility that the parents are served and well cared for is entirely upon the direct off-spring of the parents.  

But if the wife, of her own will and choice, wishes to go over and above her prescribed duties and in her benevolence serves the parents and/or family members of her husband, she would be doing the extremely meritorious deed of ehsaan; and Allah Subhanah absolutely loves those who do ehsaan or deeds over and above their prescribed duties.

If a husband is blessed with a wife who does ehsaan and serves his parents, he should be extremely grateful and thankful to her for her superb gesture of benevolence and kindness.

Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

Your Brother in Islam,

Burhan


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